Your Pets and Fireworks
With tomorrow being Independence Day I thought there was no better time to talk about loud noises and how they affect our pets. Even better, let's discuss what are some ways we can help our pets deal with all the loud noises, festivities, and change that happens around Independence Day.
There is one thing that simply doesn't mix - our cute fur babies and loud unknown noises. Whether it's your dog, bird, or rabbits - it's so hard for our pets to understand the festivities surrounding days like Independence Day.
According to national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters. What's even worse is 30-60% of lost pets are euthanized due because they are not properly identified and returned to their owners. In fact, only about 14% of lost pets are returned to their owners. Being one that has lost his own dog for 16 hours - it can happen to anyone.
When you're dealing with your dogs, cats, mini pigs, etc - here are a few things we can do to help set them up for success during this very loud holiday.
1. Keep your pets in a covered shelter: Whether this is your home or an enclosed barn it is best to keep your pets indoors. It will be even better if you're able to stay home with your pet throughout the day. If you do end up going out make sure your pet is properly leashed. Independence day isn't the greatest time to go out and attempt off-leash behaviors for the first time. Or introduce anything new to them on a day that is so out of the ordinary.
2. Go for a walk or exercise BEFORE festivities begin: "A tired dog is an obedient dog." A good walk where you are giving your pet (not just dogs) mental and physical stimulation will help them deal with the loud noises by being too tired to give them much thought. Consider getting a dog walker or friend to take your dog out during the day if you're not able to. Make sure the walk is in a familiar place. No new locations today!
If your pet is not leashed trained or simply one that does not go out for traditional walks engage in some high energy playtime or training to get them exhausted. Independence day is a great day to teach your rabbit to respond to their name a few hours before the fireworks show starts.
3. Beware of "High-Rise Syndrome" (HRS): This applies more to those living in urban neighborhoods and multilevel homes. When the weather is pretty warm many of your veterinarians across the country see a rise in injured animals as a result of HRS which is essentially when pets seriously or fatally injury themselves after falling or jumping out of a window. Most pets are naturally flight animals so their innate way of dealing with threats is to get away from them. Be sure that you keep all unscreened doors windows tightly closed and ensure screens are tightly secured. If you're pet is highly anxious and you're nervous consider kenneling them. Always better to be safe than sorry!
4. Create an "Escape Room": Most animals feel safer from danger in small dark places. Whereas most humans love the idea of being on the top floor surrounded by views, your pet will feel a lot safer in the basement of the building. We can create "escape rooms" for our pets by simply making a small space (like a kennel, travel bag, crate, or a box) with some clothes we've recently worn, and a blanket. Ensure it's snug enough our pet can go into the space and be surrounded with our scent and the soft material of the clothing and blanket. Don't be surprised if your pets go int face first and refuse to come out til after the firework show is over.
5. Thundershirts: You can go out and buy a thunder shirt for your pet or create a nice snug shirt of your own. While thundershirsts are made primarily for dogs I have used them in training on rabbits, pigs, goats, and ferrets. As long as you get the appropriate size for your pet this should offer some comfort during situations where your pets needs to encounter loud noises.
6. CHECK YOUR TAGS: You should always ensure your pets identification tags are secure and easy-to-read, but if there is any time you need to do it, it's before the fireworks show and keggers kick off! If your pet does get out having any sort of identification on them will help immensely in getting them returned to you.
Overall, Independence Day is a very stressful day for our pets. Unless you have gone through some training with desensitizing all the thrills that come with Independence Day (which is doable but a long process) then it is best to help your pet avoid all the festivities. If you're hosting great party tomorrow be sure everyone is aware of keeping all exits secure if your pet is out and about.
Hope you enjoyed this Rocky Camp Tip!